OIl RefineryUnion Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas M. Veerappa Moily announced that the government is likely to launch the tenth round of auction under New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) this fiscal. Over 68 blocks or areas for exploration of oil and gas are likely to be auctioned. Of these blocks, 25 are deep water, 20 shallow water and 23 onland blocks. This will be the second-highest offering of block since the launch of NELP in1999.

In the earlier nine rounds so far, around 254 blocks have been awarded for exploration of oil and gas. The first five bid rounds saw award of 107 blocks. NELP-VI was the most successful round with 52 out of 55 blocks on offer bein awarded while in NELP-VII, 41 blocks out of the 57 areas offered were awarded. NELP-VIII was the largest round with 70 blocks being offered. But only 32 blocks could be awarded. In 2010, of the 34 areas offered under NELP-IX, bids were received for 33 blocks. Of these, only 19 blocks were awarded.

The DGH has carved out exploration area of about 2.7 lakhs sq km and process of obtaining inter-ministerial clearances has commenced. These exploration blocks are likely to be offered in 2013-14 after completion of the clearance process.

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